Undergraduate Assessment Program

The mission of the Duke University Teacher Preparation Programs is to prepare liberally educated, culturally responsive, and reflective teachers who are equipped for leadership roles in education.


The philosophical commitments undergirding and reflected in the Unit’s vision, mission, and conceptual framework can be summarized as follows:

  1. We believe every child has a fundamental right to a quality, respectful education. In keeping with that belief, we expect teachers to be thoughtful and critical in their engagement with broad cultural discourses and advocates for students constituted both at the center and on the margins of schooling practices.
  2. We believe that teachers are professionals and that Education must reclaim its status alongside the other historically recognized “professions” (Divinity, Law, and Medicine). We resist efforts to reduce teachers to technicians and students to cogs in a social machine; rather we expect teachers to claim their roles as public intellectuals working in the service of society. 
  3. We believe an effective democracy is dependent on a thoughtful and well-educated citizenry. While individual betterment and a competitive workforce are worthwhile goals, our work is dedicated to a larger vision for freedom balanced with engagement, prosperity balanced with equity, and compassion balanced with empowerment.

Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions

  1. Candidates exhibit the characteristics of professional teachers and emerging leaders.
  2. Candidates understand the needs of diverse learners and model the behaviors of culturally responsive teachers.
  3. Candidates demonstrate core content knowledge in the academic areas for which they seek licensure.
  4. Candidates believe all students can learn and use a variety of effective instructional methods to positively impact student learning.
  5. Candidates practice regular reflection to increase their effectiveness in the classroom and to grow and thrive in their profession.

Student Learning Objectives

  1. To build on their liberal arts education and to have a broad range of academic and field-based experiences that connect their liberal arts education to social, psychological, economic, historical, political, and cultural issues that impact schools and the education of children.
  2. To develop a variety of teaching approaches and know the psychological principles which inform how and when to apply certain teaching approaches.
  3. To demonstrate multiple applications of technology and include them successfully in a variety of teaching and learning situations.
  4. To model professional ethical behaviors and become leaders-by-example both in and out of the classroom.
  5. To work collaboratively as team members to contribute to educational efforts at the national, state, and local levels.
  6. To understand the academic and affective needs of a diverse student population and they will make appropriate accommodations to address these needs.
  7. To value the importance of regular and purposeful reflection and perspective taking.
  8. To recognize the role that the community plays in the education of the whole child and understand the civic responsibility we as citizens have to public schooling.

Use of Data for Program Improvement

Data are analyzed for program improvement purposes. In the Program in Education several advisory councils and committees exist for the purpose of guiding our teacher licensure programs, our undergraduate minor, and our undergraduate curriculum. When data are aggregated and analyzed, the data are reported to these various councils. This process is essential because the Program in Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These agencies require evidence-based, data-driven program review on an ongoing basis. The following are examples of these advisory bodies:

  • The Teacher Preparation Council meets frequently throughout the year to review all programs. At its final meeting of the academic year (in late June), the Council reviews all annual program reports which include summaries of data results for the graduating cohort of undergraduates and makes recommendations to the Program Director for programmatic changes.
  • The Advisory Committees for the Elementary and the Secondary Teacher Preparation Programs meet at least twice a year and review annual program reports. Data from the reports are used to inform decisions about curricula, field experiences, program assessment, and program operations. Members of the Advisory Committees vary from program to program, but in all cases they include regular rank faculty members, clinical faculty representation, as well as representatives from Durham Public Schools. Committee membership also sometimes includes graduates of the program.

Recent Program Improvements Based on Candidate Assessment

Examples of program improvements include:

  • Increased observation and practice teaching opportunities during final field experience before student teaching.
  • Extended the time-frame during which undergraduates work on lesson planning.
  • Hillside High School was added as a clinical practice site to extend candidate opportunities to work with diverse student population.
  • Improved technology training through the creation of a new course.

In addition to the data which is collected on individual undergraduates and then aggregated to inform program development, information on the program’s effectiveness is also provided through data generated by ongoing grant programs as well as by other offices within the University. For example:

  1. Trinity College Office of Assessment Course Evaluations. Since 2001, the Trinity College Office of Assessment has collected student-feedback and faculty-feedback data on many different aspects of each undergraduate course using an instrument called the TEACHER COURSE EVALUATION INSTRUMENT. The Trinity College Office of Assessment summarizes these data and compares them to data from several other comparison groups (e.g. Arts and Sciences data, Social-Sciences-Coded data). The Office of Assessment also provides each department with demographic data about respondents and comparison demographic data about Arts and Sciences respondent as a whole. The Program in Education uses these data as one means of evaluating undergraduate courses.
  2. Faculty Database System Summary Reports. The University’s Faculty Database System (FDS) enables the Program in Education Director to pull together data from previously unconnected sources, such as the DukeHub course information database and the Online Directory, to generate summary reports on faculty member activity for use program reports. Faculty members also use the FDS system as a part of their annual review process.
  3. Annual Initial Field Experience Reports. Each undergraduate who completes the full course of study with the Program in Education must complete at least three supervised field experiences, including one-on-one work with local under-performing children in the local schools. These field experiences are supported by two structured, grant-enhanced, research-based programs – Partners for Success and Project HOPE. Each year, the faculty directors of these two grant programs generate comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data. Data from these evaluations lead to reports which inform adjustments the Program in Education makes to the field experiences undergraduates complete.
  4. Program in Education Administered Surveys. The Program in Education is required by its two accreditation bodies (CAEP and NCDPI) to administer surveys to public school teachers and administrators who supervise our undergraduates and employ them after graduation. These surveys ask school personnel to rate the performance of students who are or have completed course work in the Program in Education.

Recent Program Improvements Based on Program Level Assessments

  • Major faculty expansions – including addition of new director (Program in Education) and undergraduate licensure coordinator – to relieve workload and support research and scholarly activities.
  • Early field experience classes (EDU 101, EDU 240) expanded field experience preparation for students.
  • Increased efforts to address issues of diversity and globalization in courses.

Reports on Assessment Findings and Program Improvement Actions

As noted above, the Program in Education has several advisory committees which exist for the purpose of guiding our teacher licensure programs, our undergraduate minor, and our undergraduate curriculum. Written reports are provided to these committees on a regular basis. The Director of the Program in Education also takes the lead in a program-wide annual report which is provided to the University President and the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Assessment of undergraduates who complete coursework in Education leading to the minor or to licensure as public school teachers are comprehensive and utilize multiple instruments at multiple points. Faculty members work collaboratively to standardize program assessment systems, thus enabling the program to aggregate data more efficiently and make a more meaningful interpretation of the data.

Data are collected using a variety of methods, instruments, and data-points. Data collected on undergraduates who seek to complete the full course of study within the Program in Education include, but are not limited to:

  • Written application for acceptance into the teacher preparation program
  • Formal interview of undergraduates by faculty members
  • Transcript
  • GPA
  • SAT/ACT Scores
  • Written evaluations and recommendations from faculty members
  • Work samples which are part of a portfolio completed by undergraduates
  • Lesson plans developed by undergraduates
  • Evaluations by faculty members of students’ coursework
  • University supervisor internship evaluation
  • Discipline specialist internship evaluation
  • Cooperating/mentor teacher internship evaluation
  • Written candidate self-reflections
  • Products which demonstrate competency in technology
  • Student work samples
  • Results on standardized tests such as the national Praxis exams
  • Post graduate surveys of 1st-year teachers
  • Post graduate surveys completed by hiring principals
  • Trinity College teacher course evaluations

In addition to the data listed above, a series of surveys have been standardized across the program and have been administered to current undergraduates as well as to graduates and their employers (if graduates are working in school systems). Surveys are also completed by directors of the teacher licensure programs, faculty members, and public school partners. Results from these surveys are used to assess program effectiveness and to inform future development of the program.

The Program in Education at Duke differs from some other academic units in Trinity College because undergraduates who wish to complete the full course of study in the Program in Education must apply to be accepted into the program. Each undergraduate meets with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and obtains approval of a course of study. Undergraduates in the Program in Education must also complete an internship (in the case of teacher licensure candidates) or a supervised field-based experience in a public school (in the case of the Minor). Faculty members have decided that data on undergraduates should be collected at different times during an undergraduate’s course of study. The time of application and the semester of internship serve as defining moments in an undergraduate’s course of study. The table below outlines the points in time that faculty members collect and examine data on students in the Program in Education. Data are both qualitative and quantitative.

Assessments Timetable Data Collection Point


  • Written application to the program
  • Formal interview of undergraduate
  • Transcript of undergraduate
  • GPA at time of application
  • SAT/ACT scores of undergraduate
  • Written recommendations of faculty members


  • Praxis I results
  • Written lesson and unit plans
  • Evaluations of student work


  • University supervisor internship evaluation
  • Discipline specialist internship evaluation
  • Written self-reflections of undergraduates
  • Evaluations of student work

 End of Internship

  • Cooperating/mentor teacher internship evaluation
  • Technology portfolio
  • Teaching portfolio
  • Evaluations of student work

End of 1st Year of Teaching (if student becomes a teacher)

  • State licensure application results
  • Praxis II results
  • 1st-year teacher survey
  • Hiring principal survey

At each collection point, undergraduates are rated on their mastery of certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes that closely linked to the goals and learning objectives outlined above. Rating scores indicate a student’s progress toward mastery and are based on the quantitative and qualitative data listed above. Faculty members, internship supervisors, and/or mentor teachers or administrators use a four-point rubric. All ratings are recorded, reviewed, and discussed with students in the program. Data are analyzed and utilized to guide decisions about the future direction of the program.


Four-Point Assessment Rubric

4 – Very Effective / Very Aware / Very True
Performance is demonstrated at a high level. Candidate seeks to expand scope of competencies and undertakes additional, appropriate responsibilities. Candidate is fully aware of educational principles and incorporates those principles into practice.

3 – Effective / Aware / True
Performance within this function area is consistently adequate or acceptable. Teaching practices fully meet all performance expectations at an acceptable level. Candidate maintains an adequate scope of competencies and performs additional responsibilities as assigned. Candidate is aware of educational principles and consistently attempts to incorporate those principles into practice.

2 – Sometimes Effective / Aware / True
Performance within this function area is sometimes inadequate or unacceptable and needs improvement. Candidate requires supervision and assistance to maintain an adequate scope of competencies and sometimes fails to perform additional responsibilities as assigned. Candidate is sometimes aware of educational issues but is unable to consistently incorporate them into practice.

1 – Ineffective / Unsatisfactory / Untrue
Performance within this function area is consistently inadequate or unacceptable and most practices require considerable improvement to meet minimum performance expectations. Candidate requires close and frequent supervision in the performance of all responsibilities. Candidate is unaware of educational principles and is unable to incorporate them into practice.

In the Program in Education one faculty member (Dr. Kristen Stephens in 2007-2008) works closely with a staff member to ensure that data from ratings and surveys are entered into a database and summarized annually for each cohort. Summarized program data are reported to the Director of the Program in Education, to advisory committees, and to the faculty.